Karl Holz admits to catching the Disney bug in a cinema on a US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany, when he was seven.
“I lived in a small village and my family had a radio and no television . . . Bambi
was the first film I saw, and the memory of the excitement I felt will be with me for ever,” Mr Holz, 55, the chairman and chief executive of Euro Disney, says.
His passion for Disney was confirmed when he moved to the US in 1960, where he watched The Wonderful World of Disney
each Sunday at 7pm. The television show, presented by Walt Disney, in part to publicise Disneyland, familiarised Mr Holz with the world he hoped to join one day.
However, when he became the head of Euro Disney in May last year, he appreciated that Disney was more than fairy castles and cuddly characters. “It is no secret that we have faced challenges in the past year,” he says, overlooking Main Street USA and Cinderella’s Castle in suburban Paris, “but we now have momentum and things are moving in the right direction”.